Regulators from 24 North American racing jurisdictions met via conference call March 4 to discuss new model medication rules set to be adopted by Racing Commissioners International.
The rules, modeled in part after proposals by The Jockey Club and Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, would set uniform testing thresholds and restricted administration times for 17 commonly used therapeutic medications deemed normal and appropriate for equine care.
In addition, seven other medications are under consideration for inclusion on a schedule of "special instance" therapeutic substances used in emergency, infectious disease, or acute injury related situations. Use of these medications would require disclosure and increased pre-race veterinary scrutiny.
"Adoption of the RCI model medication rules and corresponding schedules will provide a level of uniformity professional horse racing has long needed," said RCI Chairman Duncan Patterson in a release. "These reforms are designed to protect our horses while being fair to fans and participants alike. In all my years in racing, I have never seen this level of unity of purpose."
Patterson expressed appreciation for the work of the RMTC, The Jockey Club, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, members of the RCI Task Force on Medication Science, and the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association which is working to implement the new rules in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Patterson said that "medications not included on an approved schedule of controlled substances would be treated as prohibited and subject to harsher penalties should they be found in a post-race sample."
RCI President Ed Martin noted that the association would be setting restricted administration times instead of issuing recommended withdrawal times.
"If a substance on the schedule is given within the restricted administration time it will be a violation in the same way as if the threshold had been exceeded," he said, noting that there would be a clear line that should not be crossed.
Martin said regulators are being encouraged to adopt the RCI model medication rules by reference, a tactic that will ensure jurisdictions operate from the same standards and rules. He said many regulators have expressed interest in deferring to the RCI standards.
Martin also said that changes to RCI penalty guidelines are on the table. One proposal discussed March 4 would keep penalties the same for all overages associated with substances included on the controlled therapeutic substance schedules while increasing them for all other prohibited substances.
The RCI Standardbred Racing Committee has proposed a minimum 10-year suspension and $50,000 fine for blood doping and other egregious violations. Martin believes the regulators are also interested in more stringent penalties for all prohibited substances and are considering ways to implement progressive sanctions on repeat offenders.
RCI is not expected to modify its penalty guidelines prior to meeting in New Orleans April 23-25. A working group proposal which would dramatically increase penalties for overages involving prohibited substances is being circulated to the industry for comment and those comments will be reviewed and considered at the New Orleans meeting.
The medications that have been deemed by the RCI as "Controlled Therapeutic Substances" as well as the restricted administration times are:
|Betamethasone||7 days||IA administration of 9 mg of Betamethasone Sodium Phosphate and Betamethasone Acetate Injectable Suspension, USP (American Regent product #0517-0720-01)|
|Clenbuterol||14 days||Oral administration of clenbuterol as Ventipulmin® syrup (Boehringer-Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc., NADA 140-973) at 0.8 mcg/kg twice a day|
|Dantrolene||48 hours||Oral administration of 500 mg of dantrolene as paste (compounding pharmacy) or capsule formulation (Proctor and Gamble)|
|Dexamethasone||72 hours||IA, IM, and IV administration of dexamethasone sodium phosphate or oral administration of dexamethasone at 0.05 mg/kg|
|Diclofenac||48 hours||Topical application of 1% diclofenac liposomal cream formulation as (Surpass Topical Anti- Inflammatory Cream, IDEXX Pharmaceuticals)|
|Firocoxib||14 days||Oral administration of firocoxib as EQUIOXX oral paste at a daily dose of 0.1 mg/kg for four days|
|Flunixin||24 hours||Single IV dose of flunixin as Banamine® (flunixin meglumine) at 1.1 mg/kg|
|Furosemide||4 hours||Single IV dose of furosemide up to 500 mg|
|Glycopyrrolate||48 hours||Single IV dose of 1 mg of glycopyrrolate as Glycopyrrolate Injection, USP (American Regent product # 0517-4601-25).|
|Ketoprofen||24 hours||Single IV dose of ketoprofen as Ketofen® () at 2.2 mg/kg|
|Methocarbamol||48 hours||Single IV dose of 0.15 mg/kg methocarbamol as Robaxin®|
|Methylprednisolone||Total dose of Methylprednisolone acetate suspension in one articular space. (Awaiting final action)|
|Omeprazole||24 hours||Single oral dose of omeprazole as Gastrogard®|
|Phenylbutazone||24 hours||Single IV dose of phenylbutazone|
|Prednisolone||Prednisolone sodium succinate injection. (Awaiting final action and RMTC recommendation.)|
|Triamcinolone acetonide||7 days||Total does of 9mg in one articular space. Awaiting final action.|